Indoor Gardening: Build a Terrarium in 2022

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Build a Terrarium

Don’t you want to enjoy the benefits of a garden without mowing, pruning, and fertilizing? Then nothing will serve you better than having a terrarium. This piece of the post will highlight everything required to build a terrarium.

Don’t worry if you want to enjoy gardening but don’t have enough outdoor space. Instead, you can set up a terrarium to grow plants to bring nature inside your home. Terrariums are not only visually beautiful but also need less maintenance and occupy minimal space. They are magical and easy to build.

It means they are an excellent solution for novice learning and people who want to grow less-maintenance plants without putting much effort. However, before doing that, you’re required to build a terrarium first.

Building a terrarium is a simple process and doesn’t require you to invest your hard-earned money. It also provides tons of opportunities to unleash your creativity and self-expression. Below, I will guide you step-by-step to build a terrarium. So, let’s get started!


How to Build a Terrarium

You can easily set up a terrarium by yourself. The best thing about a DIY (Do It Yourself) terrarium is that you will create something unique and one of its kind. However, before you roll your sleeves up to create a terrarium, you should make sure that you have all the supplies ready that you are going to need.  


Terrarium Supplies

Glass Vessel (Transparent): When you consider setting up a terrarium, the very first thing you need is a glass vessel. You can easily find a container that you can use to create a terrarium. However, you should make sure that the vessel you are going to use is transparent.

Stones or Pebbles: To create the base of your terrarium, you will need stones or pebbles. These tiny pebbles serve as water drainage and make sure to drain the excess water in the soil that could cause rot.

Activated Charcoal: Using a thin layer of activated charcoal is a great idea to keep the water fresh and prevent bacteria growth in the terrarium. 

Potting Soil: Potting soil is the essential layer for your terrarium. If you plan to plant succulents or cacti, you should use special mixes soil available out there. However, any type of soil is capable of doing the trick.

Once you have all these supplies ready with you, it’s time to start making a terrarium.


Making a Terrarium: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making a terrarium is an easy process. The process won’t take much of your time if you follow the guidelines I have mentioned below.  

  • 1- Place the stones or pebbles.

While making a terrarium, your first step is to cover your terrarium base by placing stones or pebbles to create a thick layer. This thick layer will serve as a drainage for the terrarium.  

  • 2- Add a thin layer of activated charcoal.

Secondly, create a thin layer of activated charcoal in the base of the container. It is useful for fighting against bacterial growth, removing odors, and toxins, especially when making a sealed terrarium.  

  • 3- Create a Layer of Potting Soil

As I have mentioned earlier, any potting soil will get the job done for you, but if you are going to plant cacti or succulents, using a specialized mix is recommended to obtain the best results. Moreover, while creating a layer of potting soil, make sure it is deep enough, and the plants are going to root into it easily. I strongly recommend making the layer as thick as 3-inch.  

  • 4- Add plants you want to grow.

If you’ve followed all the guidelines outlined above, you are all set to add a plant to your terrarium. If you want to grow multiple plants, it would be great to plant the largest one first. You need to displace the plant for its container and prune its roots. After that, make a big enough hole in the soil to fit the plant roots in. Now nestle it into the soil. You should make sure that you have tucked the plants deep enough into the soil and covered all the roots.  

  • 5- Water the Plants

Now, since your terrarium is complete and you have successfully planted your first plant, taking good care of it is your responsibility. Water the plant and place the terrarium at an appropriate place. Ensure the place you are going to place the terrarium is bright enough but away from direct light. Also, make sure to avoid overwatering the plant by testing the soil for moisture. Note: I strongly recommended using gloves when planting cactus or other prickly plants.  


8 Common Mistakes to Avoid as You Build A Terrarium

Although building a terrarium is not an arduous task and they don’t need much maintenance, they require occasional maintenance to maintain the plants’ best possible environment. Below are some common terrarium mistakes that you should avoid!  

  • 1- Excessive Light

Most of the terrarium plants don’t need extreme brightness to thrive. You should avoid placing your terrarium in places with direct sunlight or too bright light. In failing to do so, your terrarium will become a steaming sauna, eventually burning your plants before you know it. Most terrarium plants cannot tolerate warm temperatures, so keep your terrarium away from direct sunlight.  

  • 2- Deficient Light

On the one hand, where excessive light can harm your plants, there are terrarium plants that need some light to thrive. Make sure to keep your terrarium in a place where it gets enough indirect sunlight. In this regard, making the use of growth or fluorescent lights is a good option.  

  • 3- Leggy and Overgrown Plants

You should also don’t let your terrarium plants overgrow. Keep them neat, tidy, and trim them when they start overcrowding your terrarium.  

  • 4- Remove Dying Plants

If you notice a plant is dying, have broken leaves, or not thriving at all, make sure to take it out of your terrarium because it can affect other plants inside the terrarium. While removing a plant, use a spoon, chopstick, or a small shovel.  

  • 5- Keep the Terrarium Glass Clean

You don’t want to have a dirty terrarium. Make sure to clean the glass of your terrarium every once in a while from both inside and outside. A dirty terrarium glass also blocks the way for light to reach your terrarium plants. Moreover, while cleaning the glass, make sure not to use any harsh chemical or cleaning product.  

  • 6- Avoid Overwatering the Terrarium Plants

The simplest and best way to prevent overwatering is to make use of a spray bottle. However, if you have overwatered the plants, absorb it with a towel and leave the terrarium open until the water dries out.  

  • 7- Over Fertilization

Most of your terrarium plants don’t need fertilization at all. Fertilizing them will make them outgrow, which will overcrowd your terrarium. Keep your terrarium plants small and inhibit their growth by not fertilizing or over-fertilizing them.  

  • 8- Avoid Growing Wrong Plants

Although you can grow almost any plant you want in your terrarium, it will be wise to pick a plant that can thrive in a terrarium environment. If you have a sealed terrarium, grow plants that love to thrive in a moist environment. Prefer an open environment? Most people find that the desert-style plants grow well in a warm, dry, open terrarium. Look for cactus and other succulents that flourish with little moisture.


Are you ready to build a terrarium?

We all love to bring nature inside our home or workplace. If you are considering growing a plant but don’t have enough space to do so, a terrarium is what you need. Terrariums are beautiful, easy to maintain, and occupy minimal space. They are also inexpensive and enable you to unleash your creativity.

In this regard, I have outlined the steps that you can follow to build a terrarium without any hassle. However, if you have queries or suggestions related to the topic, you’re always welcome to post a comment below.    


Q: What is the advantage of adding stones and pebbles in a terrarium?

Ans: When you set up a terrarium, adding stones and pebbles is the best way to create a drainage system to drain excess water in the soil.  

Q: Why should I add charcoal while setting up a terrarium?

Ans: Charcoal is an essential element for your terrarium. Adding charcoal when you set up a terrarium will help to eliminate toxins and odors. Although you can also set up a terrarium without adding charcoal to it, you will have to take extra care to protect your plant to maintain its health while keeping the terrarium environment toxins and odor-free.  

Q: What is the lifespan of a terrarium?

Ans: A terrarium will keep thriving as long as it gets perfect conditions, proper care, and watering.  


Read More


Are Terrariums Easy to Care For? 10 Best Succulents for Terrariums in 2021 The Accidental Invention of Terrariums (daily.jstor)    

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